Ethical life restored (VII)


Silent of speech is nature’s course.

Laozi, Daodejing, 23

Can we still follow nature’s course under nature’s gently guiding hand? I think so but only if we let nature return to its humble home and only after we learn again to listen to its silent speech.

In early May, my love Alexandra and I spent a week at a cabin on the outskirts of Woodstock. We dwelled in seamless being, a time scarcely open for recollection because only one seamless fabric, the whole all seeming a single day that was filled with textures and rhythms and shades. The whole was enfolded in quiet calm, a mood of flowing sober joy.

It was then that we laughed lightly at the sparrows and the dandelions; then that we hiked uphill and rested on overlooks; that we ate food made with chafed fingers and sewn into our souls; that we drank wine and were charmed with our giddiness and our ruddy cheeks; that we sat in silence, dangling our feet over large opal rocks and bony froth; that we held each other closely and cried in joy, occasionally in longing; that we listened to loving words, ours so soft and caring, as steady as rubbing palms; that we slept when our bodies were aching for rest and could do no more for us; it was then again, a pail filling and refilling, that we awoke to morning mists and falling rains and birdsong calling from the hillside.

There was, we knew, nothing extraordinary in this, nothing save the constant humming, the thrumming of life amid life, the sense of being our best and our most spontaneous, of living according to our heart songs and day chants and night hymns. We were falling in love, this is true, but we were in love most especially with this way of living, with this way of being in touch with nature. For our natures were again following nature’s silent course and then love was all we knew.